If you need a refresher course on Indian curries, snacks and breads, Anthia Chng has brought together ten popular tastes for the next time you’re in the mood for spice.
1. Masala dosa
Dosa is a type of pancake made from fermented batter, rice flour and ground pulses. Masala dosa is dosa stuffed with a spiced vegetable filling made of potatoes with mustard seeds. Typically served with chutneys or sambar(a vegetable stew), this popular dish has its origins in Southern India.
This triangle-shaped, deep-fried snack is normally filled with savoury ingredients like spiced potatoes, peas or meat. A common street food in India, samosas are often served with a fresh chutney made of mint, coriander or tamarind.
Available at many Indian restaurants and food stalls, biryani is made up of basmati rice, spices and meat; many restaurants serve vegetarian biryani, too. While there are many variations available, the more common ones are mutton, fish and chicken.
Also known as roti, this unleavened flatbread is made of atta (wheat flour), salt and water. Chapati is a staple food in Indian cuisine and is often eaten with side dishes, grated paneer or a vegetable stuffing.
5. Palak paneer
This vegetarian-friendly dish is prepared with spinach and paneer cheese, a non-melting, un-aged Indian cottage cheese. A popular dish at Indian weddings and celebrations, palak paneer often contains diced tomatoes and onions, too.
Described as a traditional Indian ice cream, this frozen dessert is creamy and dense. Kulfi can come in various flavours, such as saffron, cardamom, rose and pistachio.
Commonly served as an appetiser, or as a side dish to biryani, this crispy, savoury cracker is typically made from flour or paste derived from lentils, chickpeas, rice or potato.
8. Murgh makhani
Marinated in a cream and spice mixture that may include ginger, lemon, turmeric and cumin, murgh makhani, or butter chicken, is a favourite of many. While the meat is traditionally cooked in a tandoor (traditional clay oven), it can also be grilled or roasted. There are several variations of the mild curry sauce that comes with this dish.
9. Tandoori chicken
Preparation-wise, this popular chicken dish is similar to butter chicken. The meat is typically baked on skewers in the tandoor after marinating in spices and yoghurt. After cooking, ghee (a type of butter) is then brushed on for flavour, and the chicken is served with chutney or coriander.
10. Beef vindaloo
A favourite among lovers of hotter curries, vindaloo is popular in the Goa region of southern India, and also in and around Mumbai. It can be made from different types of meat or seafood, though beef has become something of an international favourite. Vinegar is a distinctive ingredient of vindaloo.
This article first appeared in the November 2016 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or subscribe now so you never miss an issue!